Categorized | Airlines

United, Continental now single airline to FAA…

Posted on 30 November 2011


A newly painted United Airlines plane, with Continental’s blue and gold colors and globe logo on the tail, bottom, leaves from Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston Friday, Oct. 1, 2010.

United and Continental today received a single operating certificate from Federal Aviation Administration, a key merger milestone that allows the airlines to operate as a single entity in the eyes of the FAA.


Or, as The Associated Press puts it, “the so-called single operating certificate means that, as far as the FAA is concerned, United and Continental are one airline.”


The Houston Business Chronicle notes “the change will affect pilots, who … must now use a United call sign when speaking to air traffic controllers.”


Passengers, however, will not notice much difference.


AP says that’s because “the company will continue to sell tickets on United and Continental flights, and passengers will still check in and fly with two separate airlines. The parts of the airline that passengers see, such as check-in and frequent-flier programs, are expected to be merged early next year.”


Even United (Continental) acknowledged the minimal impact on fliers, saying in a release:

This regulatory milestone, while significant from an operational policies and procedures perspective, does not change how customers interact with the airline.


As for the milestone, several of the airlines’ union groups downplayed the change, according to the Houston Chronicle.


That includes the Continental unit of the Air Line Pilots Association, where spokeswoman Amy Flanagan says this in a statement to the Chronicle:

The key to merging the airlines operationally, and to reaping the full benefit of the merger, is reaching agreement on a new joint contract with the pilots. Only after reaching such an agreement can the pilots’ seniority lists be combined. It is only then, after these two steps are completed, that the two airlines can begin to operate as a single airline.

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